Service Reward Elicitation

The main issue when it comes to automatically determining whether or not to provide information to a service is what benefit it will have to the user. Currently there seems as if there is no definition language for this, and this is understandable due to the high complexity of the type of reward and levels of reward which may be provided. Another major factor as to why this language is difficult to implement is that it should be boolean, not scalar in its values otherwise definition of each continuous number would be required otherwise the system would not be fair and open to exploitation by services which wish to gain the information by “bending” the figures to suit.

The system I hope to develop to elicit these details to a system in order to provide automated sharing protocols will hopefully extend or be of similar kind to XDI in order for the adaptation of service and identity providers to be easier and therefore useful.


Last Wednesday I went to visit my partial sponsors of my PhD, Vodafone. I went to meet my industrial supervisor and try to tell them what it was I’ve been working on for the last three months. The journey down was fine until I hit Junction 9 of the M40 and had to queue for 30 minutes, next time I think I will get the train. Driving is 1h30m and the train is 2h, but with a queue like that it it really isn’t any different, and is much less hassle.

I had a very enjoyable time and spoke with many people there, and had fun talking about what it was like working at Vodafone with a masters student who was working there called Tom. After explaining what I had been doing it was suggested that I ought to look at working on a wider problem using distributed identity management. This is just an abstraction of my previous model where the user information is shared to an advertiser, in this case the advertisers turn into service providers which not only want to know things about you, but they also have information about you which has been gathered and they are able to share it with each other using your over-arching profile.

Obviously a user wouldn’t want services arbitrarily sharing personal information about themselves with each other, so the identity provider sits in the middle and determines what the information flow should be. The provider is able to perform this by analysing abstract user preferences provided and determining what the user will get out of providing this information to the service. There will be three outcomes from the analysis, either share the information, obfuscate the information or confirm with the user, which has the options to share, obfuscate or deny information. This user decision is then stored for future decisions (i.e. extend the users preferences). This system could be implemented by advertisers and therefore can be used as I was originally considering, but can also be extended for more useful user services.

Research Status – how do you know?

Well, it’s another cold morning waiting at the train station. I’ve read the poems on the windows in the waiting room many times, but they are still interesting. Does that define good poetry or boredem?

I’ve made some progress as far as research goes. It seems my novel auction idea for advertising isn’t so novel as Google have two paper regarding it. They are using linear techniques and are not privacy preserving, so I still have something. Whether I can improve speed, privacy or both is the question.

My visit to Vodafone is on Wednesday and therefore I may know what they are interested in. It took them quite a while to invite me down, but now they have paid me it seems I’ve caught their attention.

Also, I’ve emailed one of the researchers at Google for their input, I hope they get round to replying.

Finally, I have a presentation to a software engineering group (SEBASE) on Monday, I’ve something of a talk for them, but after Wednesday or the talks I attend on Sunday it may need some revision.

Lack of time last night prevented me from finishing an interesting auction paper from Google (mentioned a lot today aren’t they). Hopefully I can finish this and write my Vodafone paper today.